Series: Flight & Glory #4
on January 25th 2016
Genres: Military, New Adult, Romance
Buy on Amazon
There are some debts you can’t repay.
Josh Walker is loyal, reckless, and every girl’s dream. But he only has eyes for December Howard, the girl he's craved since his high school hockey days. Together they have survived grief, the military, distance, and time as they’ve fought for stolen weekends between his post at Ft. Rucker and her college at Vanderbilt. Now that Josh is a medevac pilot and Ember is headed toward graduation, they’re moving on—and in—together.
Ember never wanted the Army life, but loving Josh means accepting whatever the army dictates—even when that means saying goodbye as Josh heads to Afghanistan, a country that nearly killed him once before and that took her father. But filling their last days together with love, passion, and plans for their future doesn’t temper Ember’s fear, and if there’s one thing she’s learned from her father’s death, it’s that there are some obstacles even love can’t conquer.
Flight school is over. This is war.
5 Big “You Own My Soul” Stars
I might be a little all over the place with this review so bear with me. There is so much I want to say about this book, about this series, about these characters and about this author that I truly don’t know where to begin. This is half a review and half an ode to the Flight and Glory Series and Rebecca Yarros.
Rebecca Yarros writing is so beautiful, and so raw and so real. There’s no way you can read one of her books and not by affected by the writing. Rebecca is one of the reasons we blog. We believe in certain authors wholeheartedly, we believe people should know about certain books and certain books should be promoted above others because they are simply beautiful books with quality writing amongst a sea of overhyped poorly written books. Hallowed Ground is one of those memorable books. The entire Flight and Glory Series is in that memorable category.
I discovered Rebecca Yarros in 2014 when I read Full Measures , the first book in the Flight and Glory series That book was the perfect combination of all the things I love in romance books (and in life), military themed, sports themed, HOCKEY themed, the most perfect hero ever written in Josh Walker and one of the bravest and strongest heroines I’ve ever met in December Howard. That book is still one of my favorite books ever and I became a Rebecca fan for life. When I found out there would be more books in the series, I did a happy dance. I love those flyboys.
Once I read I book I love I tend to gush about it, a lot. So, I recommended Full Measures to my fellow sister bloggers because they had to read this awesome book. Beatriz was first, she accused me of spoiling all guys for eternity because once you meet Josh Walker, you only want a Josh Walker. Christina was next and she was hooked. Then it was Angie’s turn and we all virtually held her hand while she cried reading it. Needless to say, the Sister Wives are Flygirls and we were so looking forward to Hallowed Ground. When that ARC popped on our Kindle right before Christmas we had one of our epic Buddy Reads.
On to Hallowed Ground. Hallowed Ground is book 4 in the Flight and Glory series and the conclusion of the series. It is not a stand-alone so you must read Full Measures (Book 1) and I would also suggest reading Eyes Turned Skyward (Book 2) as well to get the full picture. Beyond What Is Given is Book 3 in the series, and although is not essential that you read it before Hallowed Ground since Sam and Grayson are not prominently featured here, it is a good read (even though I wanted to murder Grayson most of the book) since all these characters are interconnected and best friends.
Hallowed Ground starts after the gang graduates from flight school and begin their official assignments post-graduation. Josh and Jagger are stationed in the same base and so they are neighbors. Ember moves in with Josh and is in the process of applying to her PhD program. Everything changes when the boys get their orders to be deployed to Afghanistan. This is though for all of them, but mainly for Ember since Afghanistan is where she lost her father and where Josh almost lost his life years before. What happens next is a true roller coaster of emotions, the perception that you are running out of time and you want to make the most of these moments is so emotional and later the aftermath of an ugly, ugly war will shake you to the core. Since I’m trying to keep this as spoiler free as possible there isn’t much I want to reveal about what happens in the book but I will share a few of my favorite quotes before I continue:
“We glanced around the fire at the family we’d made, and I felt it—one of those moments you can’t forget, the kind that stay with you when it’s long past, so you try to memorize everything. It was a deep peace, a contentment laced with the silent knowledge that we wouldn’t be together again for far too long.”
“You are my dream now, December Howard. You are everything to me. My heart beats for you, my soul is only whole when you’re near. You’re my home, my shelter, my wildest fantasy, and I cannot imagine a future where you’re not mine, because I’m yours in every sense of the word.”
“We sat there, our arms locked around each other, our heartbeats counting down the moments until he’d be called away. They were the best and worst minutes, flying too quickly. I had never loved him more than I did in that moment. I had never been as scared.”
“I don’t care how you come home. I don’t care what parts of you are broken, or bleeding, or…anything, just as long as you come home. As long as your heart is beating, I will want you, do you understand me? I don’t care what happens there as long as you come home. Please? You have to, because I’ve built my world around you, our future, and I don’t know if I could survive losing you, Josh. And I know that’s selfish, and unfair, but I need you!”
“Holding her was so easy when the world around us got too complicated. Everything else slipped away until I was left with the simple, incorruptible truth that I would always love December Howard.”
This book is not light, there are some funny moments here and there, but this is a heavy book. It brings all the feels, ALL OF THEM. This book is real and raw, WAR is real and raw and this book deals with war, the aftermath, PTSD and survivor’s guilt in one of the most accurate ways I’ve ever read about it in a book. As a former DoD civilian I saw a lot of PTSD first hand, as a fed I still do every day. You feel for Josh, you feel for Ember. There are moments when Josh will frustrated you to no end and you will like to give up on him. Yep, our Josh goes “full stupid” for a bit but we will give him a pass. If Full Measures was Ember’s book then Hallowed Ground is Josh’s book and the roles reverse a bit, with Ember being the one holding it together. Although there are moments when you just want Ember to stand up for herself. There’s a lot of sadness and a lot of happiness. There is the possibility that you will cry…A LOT. And you might even want to walk away for a bit (like I did) because the writing is so intense you feel like you’re living these situations and having these experiences right along the characters. In the end, I trusted that Rebecca would do these characters justice and the epilogue is everything I wanted, and more, simply PERFECTION. However, there are still parts of the book all four of us are trying to recover from and as Angie says, there are things we still “don’t wanna taco bout it” and we might never will (pun intended).
Overall we loved this book to pieces. We loved Josh, Ember, Jagger, Paisley, Sam, Grayson, the story, the writing and that gorgeous epilogue. We absolutely loved that this was written in dual POV because being in Josh Walker’s head is an amazing experience. We could’ve done without some of Josh’s decisions towards the end but we still feel the epilogue overcomes most of that. Beatriz is still a little mad at Josh even though she loves him to pieces. All of these feelings are a testament to Rebecca’s awesome writing. Needless to say, the military stuff is always so accurate and on point. When it comes to military books, and I’ve read a lot of them, Rebecca is the absolute best, her knowledge is incredible. We will miss this series so much, we will always remember our flyboys fondly and we still hope for some extra scenes here and there in the future View Spoiler »and some Jagger and Paisley epilogue, please « Hide Spoiler. We can’t wait for the new things Rebecca has in store for the future. The Sisterhood wholeheartedly recommends, this book, this series and anything by Rebecca Yarros!
PS: I usually like to post a few quotes here and there but I highlighted so many of them and was so hard to choose that I’m posting some more J
“I was done being her boyfriend. I wanted to be her forever.”
“Heaven. She tasted like heaven, and home, and just…December.”
“She braced her hands on my shoulders, and her laugh healed another broken line in me, stitched it together with love and the promise of our future.”
“ I couldn’t help but wonder if we’d just paved the way for closure, or ripped the scabs off anew. One thing I’d learned about grief—it was almost impossible to tell the difference between the two. They both hurt like hell.”
“When it comes to you, to how much I love you, Josh, I have no morals. No honor. I would lie, cheat, murder, steal, dishonor everything I hold dear if it meant spending my life with you. No measure of duty, or God, or country could ever make up for losing you.”
“Her soul bathed me in love, her kiss intoxicated every sense, and the movement of her hips, the glide of me deep within her began to bury my demons. Here was my salvation. December was my saving grace.”
“It’s better to have tried, right? How can we ever know just how beautiful something was, how important, how epic, if we don’t at least try to put it back together when it breaks? Even if some of the pieces are in the wrong place, at least it’s standing.”
“We weren’t in high school, or even college, but one thing remained the same—I was head over heels in love with December Walker. And I always would be.”
*An ARC was provided by the author and Entangled Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.”
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1JrIb1f
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1Y05StF
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1NeMPn1
I pushed my chair out and reached for her, lifting her tiny, curved frame into my lap. Her head tucked beneath my chin, and she curled into me, fitting right where she was always meant to be. My arms closed around her. “We have a month.”
“It’s not long enough.” Her fingers gripped my shirt like she could keep me here if she just held on tight enough. God, what I wouldn’t have given to stay with her.
“Forever isn’t long enough for us, December, but that’s what we’re going to have. You and I have never chosen the easy path. This is just another hurdle.” I rubbed my chin over her soft hair and tried to soak in every detail of holding her—the sweet way she smelled, the smooth texture of her skin beneath my hands.
She leaned back in my arms and cupped my face. “I can’t lose you.” Her voice broke, and tears pooled in her eyes.
I’d never hated myself more than I did in that moment. She’d made it through a nightmare no one should have to face, and I was about to ask her to chance that fire again. My breath hitched, barely passing the lump in my throat. “You won’t. It would take something a hell of a lot stronger than a war to keep me from you.”
I sealed that promise with a kiss, tasting her fear and desperation as she responded. She opened underneath me, and I fused my mouth to hers, surrendering to the heat between us to pull us through this moment. There was nothing hotter or sweeter in this world than kissing December, feeling her go soft and pliant.
We’d fought so fucking hard to get here, to be together. This wasn’t fair, and we both knew it. But we also both knew it didn’t matter. Fair wasn’t exactly in the U.S. Army vocabulary.
I retreated just enough to whisper against her lips, “I’ll come home. I swear it.”